Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Protesters Demand Action in Dontre Hamilton Case

Erin Toner

As they’ve done for months, protesters gathered Tuesday in Red Arrow Park in Milwaukee to demand action in the Dontre Hamilton case. They're calling for former police officer Christopher Manney to be charged in Hamilton’s death.

The incident occured in April in Red Arrow Park downtown. Manney says he shot Hamilton after he became combative with the officer and struck him. Hamilton, who was 31, had schizophrenia.

Manney has since been fired from the Milwaukee Police Department for failing to follow protocol leading up to the shooting.

Local protests have mirrored recent demonstrations around the country, triggered by outcomes of other police-involved killings.

Markesha Harris, a Marquette University student, organized a rally and march Monday that ended at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. She says she believes police officers need to be re-trained in the use of force.

"That’s what I think is the best way to do this. The whole police department, including the Sheriff's Department as well. I would ask them to retrain to not just shoot and kill. If there needs to be force taken, I would ask (they use) Tasers. Tasers (were) given to police before guns, so why wouldn’t they just use Tasers at first to restrain somebody?"

Harris says when District Attorney John Chisholm announces whether he'll charge Manney with a crime, she hopes the community reacts peacefully

"I’m not for violence at all. I strongly condemn violence, so I’m hoping for a peaceful action if it’s not in favor of Dontre Hamilton. I’m hoping that we as a community will stand together and hopefully be as one, you know, not reacting in a violent way but in a peaceful way. Peaceful protests, die-ins, simple things like that," Harris says.

Chisholm told WUWM this week he'll announce soon whether former officer Manney will face charges.